International Standards on Drug Use Prevention


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Prevention strategies based on scientific evidence working with families, schools, and communities can ensure that children and youth, especially the most marginalized and poor, grow and stay healthy and safe into adulthood and old age. For every dollar spent on prevention, at least ten can be saved in future health, social and crime costs.

These global International Standards summarize the currently available scientific evidence, describing interventions and policies that have been found to result in positive prevention outcomes and their characteristics. Concurrently, the global International Standards identify the major components and features of an effective national drug prevention system. It is our hope that the International Standards will assist policy makers worldwide to develop programmes, policies and systems that are a truly effective investment in the future of children, youth, families and communities. This work builds on and recognizes the work of many other organizations (e.g. EMCDDA, CCSA, CICAD, Mentor, NIDA, WHO) which have previously developed standards and guidelines on various aspects of drug prevention.

The Standards have been recognized by Member States as a useful tool to promote evidence-based prevention in the following documents:

  • The Joint Ministerial Statement on the mid-term review of the implementation by Member States of the Political Declaration and Plan of Action;
  • Resolution 57/3 - Promoting prevention of drug abuse based on scientific evidence as an investment in the well-being of children, adolescents, youth, families and communities; and,
  • Resolution 58/3 - Promoting the protection of children and young people, with particular reference to the illicit sale and purchase of internationally or nationally controlled substances and of new psychoactive substances via the Internet.

The documents are presently available only in English, but they are being translated in all UN official languages, and uploaded shortly. Russian translation is already available.


International Standards on Drug Use Prevention

Appendix I - References

Appendix II - Description of the methodology utilized for the collection, assessment and utilization of the scientific evidence

Appendix II Annex I -  List of mediating variables

Appendix II Annex II - Instruments for the assessment of evidence

Appendix II Annex III - List of interventions and possible study designs

Appendix II Annex IV - Summary of the quality assessment

Appendix II Annex V - Summary results of 'good' and 'acceptable' studies



Last updated 05 August 2015

[1] For a working definition of 'intervention', the related term 'programme', as well as 'policy', please see Annex I.